This article records the translated dialogue between the original creator of the Toaru Majutsu no Index light novels, Kamachi Kazuma, and the illustrator of the Toaru Majutsu no Index light novels, Haimura Kiyotaka, found in Toaru Majutsu no Index no Subete.
Illustration and images from the franchise occasionally appear with tidbits of trivia as seen from the original book. Moreover, at the end of the dialogue are short profiles for both participants. The subsections that contain questions for Kamachi that originally appeared in conjunction with the images are moved into its own separate article.
——To begin with, tell us what led to the creation of the first Index novel.
Kamachi: It began when I made a submission to the 9th Dengeki Game Novel Award. I ended up being dropped in the third round of selections, but I got a call from the editor a bit later asking me to write something.
Haimura: Why did you submit your manuscript to a Dengeki award? It may be a bit weird to ask that here though.
Kamachi: Because I read Dengeki the most.
Haimura: Was the manuscript you submitted something other than Index?
Kamachi: Something completely different.
Haimura: What led to Index’s creation?
Kamachi: For about a year, I spoke with my editor, wrote, spoke some more, wrote some more, and so on. I think it was when my editor said the novel was scheduled to be published that Haimura-san was contacted.
Haimura: Come to think of it, it was an email from the editor I got first.
Kamachi: So you accepted the job once you got the email?
Haimura: Yes. My work was at a bit of a standstill at the time.
Kamachi: Your work on games?
Haimura: Yes. You could say I was less at a standstill and more completely trapped. There was a huge gap between what I wanted to draw and what I had to draw. When I got the email requesting I work on Index, I had my misgivings but I also thought it might serve as an opportunity to break free of the situation I was in.
Kamachi: What was your overall impression when you first read the manuscript? ...I know that’s a weird thing for me to ask, but the editor is holding up a cue card.
Haimura: Well, I had completely stopped reading light novels once I entered college…I read them the most when I was in high school. My first impression was that they had changed quite a bit from back then. When I had read them, they were novels through and through, but Index seemed a lot more “kinetic”, I guess you would say. It seemed directly linked to media with more movement to them like anime and manga.
Kamachi: Media with more movement, hm?
Haimura: I discussed it with the editor a lot, but it felt similar to a shounen manga in a lot of ways.
Miki: Come to think of it, I remember receiving a lot of roughs soon after first giving you the manuscript. It was before I had even asked for anything.
Haimura: I think it was more that I was offering you some roughs.
Miki: But it was still a lot of them.
Haimura: That was because there were a lot of characters in the text. I think I drew pretty much every character from Volume 1. You even put Komoe-sensei on the table of contents. Still…I think that was only Index, Kamijou, Stiyl, Kanzaki, and Komoe-sensei.
Miki: You had more than one for each character, so it was still a lot!
Haimura: Kamachi-san, how did you feel about the illustrations for Volume 1?
Kamachi: It’s actually a good thing, but it did come to mind that the characters I envisioned, the characters the editor envisioned, and the characters Haimura-san would envision and draw would naturally all be different. But with each character I saw realized, I had something much more amazing than what I had envisioned. I think that is what it means to create something together.
Haimura: Were you ever disappointed in a character?
Haimura: Thank you very much. I’m the type of person that always sees himself as lacking and having a long way to go, so it’s good to hear that.
——And in April of 2004, Volume 1 was released. What did that feel like?
Kamachi: It was amazing to see something I had written for sale at the store. I had of course received a final copy to check over beforehand, but actually seeing it in the store was something else entirely.
Haimura: Were you afraid at all about having people judging your work?
Kamachi: I have that even now. Some things will always be frightening. But I also think it motivates you to push yourself.
Haimura: I see.
Kamachi: Haimura-san, was that the first time to have your illustrations for sale in the medium of a book?
Haimura: Yes. It was a very different feeling. I think that is because it was a much broader medium compared to what I had done before.
Kamachi: A much broader medium?
Haimura: A lot more copies were for sale…and the target audience was much, much greater. I mean, for a PC game, you need to buy a computer, the software itself is expensive, and the rating restricts it. Having all those restrictions removed made a huge difference.
Miki: And after it was released to the public, (to be blunt) it sold like crazy. Shortly after the official release date, we had to do a reprint half the size of the original printing. It was on a Monday. I still remember it now. It was quite an achievement for an unknown newcomer.
Kamachi: It went through 6 or 7 rewrites before it was published, so it was quite a relief to see that those revisions hadn’t taken it in the wrong direction.
Haimura: Did you see any repercussions from this?
Kamachi: I honestly don’t really know.
Miki: Nothing more than me calling him to tell him about it.
Haimura: When I met with my artist friends, they would often mention having Index. I think that was when it really hit home.
——And then Volume 2 came out shortly thereafter.
Haimura: Volume 1 ended on a nice conclusion, didn’t it? Were you worried about what you would do for Volume 2?
Kamachi: When Volume 1 came out, I just assumed it would go no further than that, so I was just really happy when I was told I could write another one.
Haimura: So it was less “What do I do now?” and more “Yes!”?
——The Index series is a story of the science and magic crossing paths. Could you tell us how that came to be?
Kamachi: I think it had a lot to do with Volume 3.
Haimura: That volume was almost entirely science.
Kamachi: Yes. Until then, the novels had been building up the magic side world. The science side was there, but it was not until I wrote an entire novel focused on the science side that science and magic gained equal footing.
Haimura: And that’s why Volume 3 used Academy City as its stage, right?
Kamachi: I described Academy City as having lots of wind turbines as a symbol of the science side, but they really aren’t that futuristic. My intention was to make a contrast with the current world by having things that exist but are uncommon be everywhere.
Haimura: Was Academy City at all influenced by things you had experienced?
Kamachi: I’m not sure… I may have just been writing about a nonexistent “exaggerated school life”.
Haimura: I had assumed that the school you went to must have had yakisoba pan. And this yakisoba pan must have smelled sour when it went bad. Also, you must have slid down the hallway in your socks.
Kamachi: Wait, I thought everyone did that. I guess I basically mix together existing things and things that definitely do not exist.
——I would also say a characteristic of the novels are its magicians who have a very close relationship with science.
Kamachi: I guess you could say they are more vivid and unsociable than the Academy City students. The ones with more prickly emotions tend to be on that side of things. Naturally, the magicians are the type who decide their schedule based on what they want to do rather than going to school because it is part of their schedule.
Haimura: So it’s the difference between active and passive?
Haimura: Come to think of it, there is one thing I was wondering. Where do magicians draw the line between what counts as science and what doesn’t?
Kamachi: The magicians do use various things from the normal world like copiers and phones.
Haimura: Yes. Otherwise, they couldn’t mass produce the bible, I guess.
Kamachi: Fortunately, the Index has Academy City, which has SF-like things such as powered suits, special detectors, and psychic powers which can be set as “over the line”.
Haimura: The magicians really do loathe that kind of technology, don’t they? Also, the magicians have a lot of different sects. Did you just make those up?
Kamachi: Yes, I did. They are based off of real organizations, but the contents are completely different.
Haimura: Have you gotten any complaints regarding that?
Kamachi: No, I haven’t.
Haimura: I guess that’s the good thing about Japan. We can accept that kind of fiction here.
|The sisters of the Roman Catholics, the Agnese Forces. From the left: Lucia, Angelene, and Agnese (commanding officer). In addition to them, there is also Agata, Caterina, and 250 other members. If they all appear in a volume, would this be a good chance for the illustrator to show his skills by applying differentiations to them!?|
——Tell us what you think of the science side and magic side from an illustration standpoint.
Haimura: I didn’t have much trouble when it came to Kamijou’s side of things. Fuyukawa-san mentioned it (*See the Kamachi x Fuyukawa Interview), but giving them any kind of crazy gimmick would stray from the common knowledge of the readers. I did not hesitate to make the science side into completely normal students at a completely normal school. The magic side was harder because they needed some kind of overwhelming material or gimmick for them.
Kamachi: I do give you material for the designated items, but I don’t give you much for the characters, do I?
Kamachi: They have the same mentality and they have the same uniform.
Haimura: Yes. The Roman Catholic nuns were definitely a challenge. I had no idea what to do at first. Even with the gimmick allowing portions of their clothes to be removed, I still had to keep the “nun” aspect in there.
Kamachi: Is there any major change relating to age for you? That is, do you find adults harder to draw and children easier to draw or anything like that?
Haimura: Not really. It’s mainly about how much information I have on them. If I make a character and derive from there, I begin to run out of variations which makes things harder for me. Oh, but one magic side character I finished in pretty much one go was Index. I didn’t hesitate with her.
——Come to think of it, you’ve probably made more than 100 character roughs at this point.
Haimura: It would be even higher if you include the unreleased ones.
Miki: There definitely are a lot of characters. The character introductions will probably take up half of this book.
Kamachi: I know what you mean.
——To continue, I would like to put the spotlight on the characters. Tell us a secret about their creation.
Kamachi: When I was thinking about Volume 1, the first character that popped into my head was Index. I then thought about what kind of protagonist would save Index in the situation she was in. I decided one who charges in to solve the problem would be better than one who hesitantly thought about it. Haimura: So Kamijou was actually created as a contrast to Index?
Haimura: When you first created Kamijou, was he already a science side student living in Academy City?
Kamachi: In the initial stages of the plot, the setting of Academy City was not very fleshed out, but I wanted the protagonist to see Index as a mysterious character as she was from the magic side. For that reason, I decided he had to be from the science side rather than the magic side.
Haimura: Kamijou is a very straightforward and hot-blooded guy, but are there any particular things you keep in mind while writing him? Like not letting him get too close to any one girl? (Laugh)
Kamachi: Hmm. (Laugh) Let’s see. I guess the most important thing is that he does not come to a halt even when he is worrying. You can probably tell by reading the novels, but Kamijou is definitely the type to worry about things. But the important thing is that he does not come to a halt because of it.
Haimura: Yes, he doesn’t give up even though he is imperfect and he grows as he advances. That aspect reminded me of a shounen manga protagonist.
Kamachi: He is quite a varied character with his joking side and his serious side, so I bet he was difficult to illustrate.
Haimura: When I draw the illustrations for >Kamijou or anyone else, I focus on how to create the impression I got when I read the text.
Kamachi: For example?
Haimura: As a reader, I think about what expression the character would be making in that scene in an attempt to keep the characters from always having the same expression. I only started thinking about it around Volume 2 and only really started doing it noticeably around Volume 4. I guess you could say I optimize my art to match the scene or that I try to reflect the feeling I got as a reader.
Kamachi: You used it as an answer to one of your questions, but is Ellis from Volume 6 a good example? It looks like it comes from a completely different series. I thought it was an amazing scene.
Haimura: Oh, yes.
Kamachi: This may be a bit of a spoiler, but there is a rather shocking scene involving >Kazakiri in Volume 6. When I was looking through the illustrations from that volume, they seemed very different from one to the other. I really got a lot more than I expected.
——There has been a two page spread black and white illustration in Volumes 2, 4, and every volume from 6 onwards, hasn’t there?
Haimura: To sum it up, that is because I draw them like they are for a manga. It may sound harsh, but the light novel size (A6) is cramped compared to the world of manga. When I do a two page spread, I can put in a lot of characters or have only a few but much bigger. This lets me do a lot more to get across my impression of the scene.
Kamachi: I see.
Haimura: But if you put too many of them in, it would affect the flow, so I think it is best to use 1 for a scene with a lot of impact. There were two in Volume 4, though. A gag one and a serious one. I wasn’t able to narrow down what I wanted to show off in a two page spread.
——Tell us about the most popular character in the series, Misaka Mikoto.
Haimura: Eh? Is she going to be rewarded for this?
Kamachi: (Laugh) Let’s see... The truth is, I think she will bathe in the limelight as a competitor with Index.
Haimura: Ohh. I guess I can look forward to that.
Kamachi: And she is set to be working hard as a protagonist in Dengeki Daioh
——What about Accelerator?
Kamachi: There’s actually a story about his creation… (Laugh) The editor accidently sent him the plot. (Laugh)
Haimura: Yes. When we were working on Volume 2, I received Volume 3’s plot along with some Volume 2 materials from Kamachi-san.
Kamachi: So there he was saying he’d drawn the character and I hadn’t even written Volume 3’s manuscript yet...
Haimura: I just thought I was being extra fast. (Laugh)
Kamachi: It was quite a surprise to see him drawn on the edge of the Volume 2 character roughs.
Haimura: Just like Misaka Mikoto, you can give a lot of variation to his illustrations without him feeling out of character. Basically, both Misaka and Accelerator are close to being protagonists. If a character is going to appear a lot, you need to be able to create lots of variations without the readers feeling something is off. In my mind, Kamijou, Index, Misaka, and Accelerator are like that.
Kamachi: So Volume 5 was full of protagonists for you.
Kamachi: Does a character’s disposition and amount of appearances effect how easy or hard they are to draw more than anything else?
Haimura: Yes. The more they appear, the more I understand them and the more I have to work with. A character that appears once and never says a word is quite hard.
Kamachi: When you create a character, what do you envision first?
Haimura: For Index characters, I don’t do much like that. For Index, I made a logical illustration of what was written about her in the text and then added character to that bit by bit. I guess that’s why she looks a lot different now than in Volume 1. (Laugh) With Kanzaki, my mood really influenced the illustrations. She isn’t that far off now, though.
Kamachi: Is that so?
Haimura: One character I created more out of symbolism is Accelerator. As he stood in a position opposite of Kamijou, I made his coloring reversed. Kamijou’s white areas were made black, and his black areas were made white. It’s quite simple really.
Kamachi: And the spiky hair became silky hair? (Laugh)
Haimura: Yes. Their heights are the same though. Another one was Laura. I drew her as an evolution of Index. Something like a version of Index who is 6 years older.
Kamachi: Laura is one of them, but when I am designing characters, I often think a character will definitely end up looking quite strange. But when I see the rough, I’m surprised in a good way to find that you made a proper illustration of the character.
——On the topic of characters, tell us what illustration has left the greatest impact on you.
Kamachi: For me, it was the black and white illustration of Accelerator in Volume 5 Chapter 3.
Haimura: Sorry, that’s my true self. (Laugh) I was feigning innocence up through Volume 4.
Kamachi: It was quite a surprise.
Haimura: I think the volume where my illustrations were most in sync with what I loved as a reader was Volume 6.
Kamachi: As a whole?
Haimura: Yes, Volume 6 as a whole.
Kamachi: Oh, Himegami’s reappearance.
Haimura: I never said that was the reason. (Laugh) I think it had more to do with how that volume really expanded on the science side.
Kamachi: True, that was the first volume that had a real clash between the people of Academy City and magicians.
Haimura: Also it had Index and Misaka’s first meeting. It had a lot in it.
Kamachi: That is the main selling point.
Haimura: By the way, if you count the SS, there are 14 volumes out now. That is quite a rapid pace. What is the secret behind that?
Kamachi: I’m not entirely sure. I really only have one series, but I work on three at a time in that same series. I think it has something to do with that.
Haimura: That’s a man who writes as a hobby for you. (Laugh)
Kamachi: I would say the one working the hardest is you, Haimura-san. Right? (Laugh)
Haimura: It is a lot of work. (Laugh) For me, when I get stuck, I can end up at a complete standstill for a long time. But once I find a place to start at, I finish it all at once in just a few hours. I really piss myself off in that way. By the way, will you be keeping up this pace from now on too?
Kamachi: Hmm. I’d like to.
Haimrua: Oh. (Laugh) How frightening. This is like the pace of a Jump comic.
——Two serializations started in separate manga magazines towards the beginning of the year. Please tell us something about that.'
Kamachi: When the characters in the novels move, they move. But when they don’t move, they don’t move at all. They spend a long time explaining things. And a lot more gets explained outside the dialogue. (Laugh) For that reason, I was unsure if it could be represented well in the medium of manga. But I was amazed to see how well it turned out in the end.
Haimura: Did it make you happy?
Kamachi: Yes, seeing it in manga form did make me happy. And I wrote the original story for Railgun knowing it would be a manga, so I learned a lot from that. Manga dialogue leaves a lot less room to explain things than I thought (Laugh)
Haimura: I see.
Kamachi: Haimura-san, what did you think about seeing the characters you had designed in manga form?
Haimura: As an illustrator, I was extremely grateful. After all, I can use it to improve the novel illustrations. For example, there are ways you can mess with the character’s face in a manga without it looking out of place. I am trying to make my expression very manga-like, so I can use that for reference.
Kamachi: The characters move a lot in the novels, but that is in the form of text. It’s fun to see them move in a more visual way.
Haimura: Yes. Oh, by the way, why two different magazines? (Laugh)
Kamachi: I suppose that has to come up, doesn’t it? (Laugh) I’ll pass that one off to the editor.
Miki: I will answer that one, then. This goes for editing as well, but the most important thing about expanding on a work is to retain the atmosphere of the original. For example, fans tend to get upset if a movie has a completely mismatched tagline. They’ll complain about how the trailer was completely different. When delving into a new medium with the original creators involved, you definitely want to avoid that. I thought about what manga magazines Index would be suited for and I decided on Gangan for the main story and Daioh for the side story. I also gave thought to Dengeki Bunko’s label concept of "doing what can’t be done elsewhere".
Kamachi: There you have it. (Laugh)
Haimura: He’s speaking more than the actual interviewees. (Laugh)
——To continue, there was a radio drama (Drama CD).
Kamachi: Giving the characters voices had quite an impact.
Haimura: In a way, it was just as I had imagined it.
Kamachi: Yes. I wrote the scenario myself, but when I heard the actor speaking the lines all I could think was, "Ah! It’s Kamijou Touma!"
Haimura: I loved it way more than I thought I would. Shirai Kuroko is definitely a must-hear. (Laugh)
——Now, please tell us about what will happen from now on.
Kamachi: Until now, the boy named Kamijou Touma has been able to deal with the problems on his own, but the problems are going to get bigger. He will no longer be able to handle them on his own. Specifically, Academy City and the Roman Catholic Church will clash.
Haimura: Is that the highlight of it?
Haimura: Then I should probably start thinking about what designs to give God’s Right Seat. (Laugh)
Kamachi: Yes, you have only drawn one so far.
Haimura: Right now, I’ve only done Vento. She definitely has one of the most heretical designs of the Index characters so far, so I need to think about how to design characters to match her.
Kamachi: The next one to appear is... Terra I guess.
Haimura: Then I’ll think about him. (Laugh)
——Thank you very much.
|Kamachi Kazuma Profile||Haimura Kiyotaka Profile|
|When he passed during second screening of the Ninth Dengeki Game Novel Prize, the application of his work caught the editor's eyes. By April 2004, Toaru Majutsu no Index debuted in Dengeki Bunko. It is currently September 2007, and the series has presently released 14 volumes in total to the market.||Illustrator. He is responsible for the original pictures of things such as a PC game. Man who loves drinking and smoking.|